Dance music for the masses 

EOTO incorporates live instrumentation and computers, on stage

click to enlarge Amped Up This two-man group hosts quite the energetic dance party
  • Amped Up This two-man group hosts quite the energetic dance party

Who: EOTO

When: Saturday, Sept. 27, 9 p.m.

Where: GLC

Admission: $16 in advance, $20 at the door

Jason Hann and Michael Travis are the multi-tasking men behind the distinct sound of EOTO (pronounced e-oh-toe), a breakbeat, trip/glitch-hop, house duo.

Formerly called the End of Time Observatory, they eventually got tired of explaining their lengthy name.

“We just started using EOTO as a nickname, but then some Japanese fans told us it means, ‘good sound,’” Hann said, explaining how the acronym stuck.

The two met up through their work with The String Cheese Incident, a Colorado-based jam band that formed in the early ’90s.

“I would go out there for practice and I would stay at Travis’s house, and usually we would finish practice at 6 or 7 at night, and there was just the whole night open, so we just decided to jam on the instruments that he had at his house,” Hann explained.

The after-practice jam sessions soon took on a life of their own, running until 4 or 5 a.m.

“At some point… we thought, ‘oh this might be cool to do in front of an audience,’” he said.

So two years ago, the two took their live show to the stage.

Hann plays an acoustic drum set, djembe, and electronic percussion pad, while Travis plays guitar, bass, and four keyboards. Both also have remote controls that allows them to work the on-stage computer from a distance, which allows them to mix and remix live, controlling their mics and signals using software called Ableton Live.

They’ve embraced technology to the point that they’ve decided to post all of their performances from their latest west coast tour, which just started last week, online at www.livedownloads.com .

Their sound is a bit hard to put a label on, but that seems to suit Hann and Travis.

“When I’m playing, I feel I call out to something beyond what’s in the room or what’s on the radio,” Hann said. “It’s more extraterrestrial than terrestrial. But usually when someone asks me to describe it, I’ll go through the genres of music, but in the moment or when it’s happening, we just kind of give it up to sort of the bigger things that are happening in the room or in the audience.”

Using a combination of traditional instruments and technology, the shows are never pre-rehearsed, pre-recorded, or looped, so each performance is unique, and often as much a surprise to Hann and Travis as it is to the members of the audience.

“Just about everyone thinks that it’s pre-recorded, so we’ve been trying to get the word out about that more,” Hann explained. “We think that’s the part that’s special about what we’re doing, because there’s so much dance music that DJs spend hours on just getting one sound, to tweak it in just the right way… so to pull it off live, and on the fly, is quite a feat.”

But there’s one commonality between each and every performance — the dance floor will be packed.

“It’s definitely different, and it’s an all-night dance party,” Hann added.

The performances generally attract a diverse, younger crowd, which is both a positive and negative, as the performers have to work hard to make their sound appeal to a wide range of music lovers.

“We really liked the music a lot and really dove into it pretty hardcore, so it’s a lot of work to get out there and win over a whole new group of fans, but it’s really been catching on.”

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